August 5, 2013

IF you can keep your head when all about you 
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings 
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
' Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!
-Rudyard Kipling

I've been prepping a batch of knives to send to Peters for heat/cryo treating.  One of the knives in this batch needed jimping, which is much easier to establish pre heat treat.  I don't use jimping very often, but a gentleman across the Pond ordered a Magua and requested jimping, so jimping he gets.  This particular Magua is .205" CPM154.

And here's the rest of the batch before being boxed up.  

The two longs up top are S7.  The rest are a mix of CPM154, CPM3V, N690, AEB-L, & 440C.  There are nine more knives in this batch in O1.  They are staying here and I'm hoping to heat treat them myself now that I have the Evenheat up and running.

Got in another batch of desert ironwood.  

I've also begun finish work on these four knives.

From the left, an SFB wharncliffe variant in M390, a WKH in CPM154, and two Nimrods in CPM3V.

I taper the tangs of the SFB variant and both of the Nimrods.  Then the flats are cleaned up.

All four are ready for bevels to be ground to their final edge thickness.

WKH with bevels finished and hand-rubbed.  

Now the WKH is ready for swedge grinding.  When grinding such a small surface area against the platen (or wheel, as the case may be), it is very difficult to feel the interface of the steel with the abrasive, making repeatable passes (and thus, clean lines) quite difficult.  So I've been using a sled-type fixture to grind these shallow, acute-angle swedges.  The results are always good but setting up the fixture is terribly time and labor intensive.  Plus I hate the restrictive nature of fixtures.  So I decided to attempt this swedge grind freehand.  Empty Mind:

I then repeat the above process with the SFB variant.

I decided to only finish one Nimrod for the time being.  Finishing three at a time seems to be my happy number.  Here are all three ready for scales.


All three pair of scales ready for rough shaping.  Bottom is Lightning Strike carbon fiber with titanium liners, middle is stabilized mesquite with black/brown G10 liners, and top is desert ironwood with Blacksite 690 carbon fiber bolsters and black/white G10 liners/dividers.

August 18, 2013

"Every hour misspent is lost forever." - George Washington

GVHD issues have made life somewhat uncomfortable for me for seemingly the entire summer.  But despite that I've been making steady progress in the shop.  

Scales after being rough cut on the bandsaw.

I pin the scales together and use a 36-grit belt on the flat platen to bring them close to the line.  Sharp belts and light pressure are necessary to prevent burning the materials.

The titanium liners of the LSCF scales make crazy sparks.

After finishing the front of the scales, they are dry pinned to their respective knives and brought flush with the tang.

I use the flex shaft Dremel to bring the desert ironwood flush inside the ring.  It's important to have a light touch here so you don't oblong the ring.  I use the sanding drums in 36-grit, 120-grit, and 320-grit.  I finish it with a fine non-woven attachment.

Next I start shaping the scales using the grinder.  I begin with a 36-grit AO belt on the 10" wheel.

After shaping all three handles with the 10" wheel, I switch to the 2" wheel with a 60-grit belt.  The two inch wheel lets me get into the tighter areas of the bottom of the handles and as well as grind a relief for the ring of the WKH.

After the two inch wheel I use Klingspor's excellent 1" scalloped belts to start smoothing the scales and prepare them for hand sanding.  Here you can see I have one of these belts (untensioned) on my grinder.

Final shaping is done by hand.  I use strips of 60-grit paper and finish blending all of the facets.  When sanding handle material I generally use whatever cheap paper Supergrit has on sale so I can save the Rhynowet paper for when I'm sanding steel.  I only take the scales to 220 or 400 grit at this time because I'll be grinding down the pins after epoxy anyway.

I remove the scales so I can continue finishing the knives.  Here are the mesquite scales at 400 grit.

I address any sharp edges and then all three knives get their first ride in the tumbler.  After that they're all marked.

The knive are then thoroughly cleaned with acetone, then alcohol, then scrubbed with dish soap.  After rinsing with hot water I put them, still dripping wet, in the muriatic acid tube.  I pull them after twenty minutes, neutralize them, and drop them in to the tumbler for their second ride.

Here they are with their final finish and ready for scales.  You can also see that I've ground fullers into the tang of the SFB variant to improve balance.

The SFB variant has titanium liners that need to be blue.  This can be done with heat or with electrochemical anodization.  but I have never attemtped either.  Big thanks to Chuck Bybee for answering my questions and getting me pointed in the right direction.  I decided to go with the heat option as it is supposed to be more durable . . . plus I like the idea of painting with a torch!!  I bought a little propane torch from Home Depot and practiced heat coloring the 6-2-4-2 titanium sheet that I cut the SFB's liners from.  

You can't see the color change until you remove the flame from the titanium.  I took my time and heated it slowly so I could learn the sequence of the colors.  It only took a few minutes of practice to get the hang of it.

I was confident enough to try it on the liners.  If you blow past your intended color it can be sanded off, but these liners were already fitted to the tang.  Meaning any sanding would likely result in having to refit them.  I hung them on a wire and clamped the other end of the wire in my vice so they were suspended.  Here's an in-progress shot.  the dark blue color comes right afte purple.


All three are epoxied, clamped, and put in front of the halogen lamp for a stronger bond.

The next day I begin finishing the handles.  The LSCF is Anso-sculpted using the one inch small wheel.  I do the initial sculpting with a 220-grit AO belt, and then touch it up with a 400-grit AO belt.

The mesquite and desert ironwood are taken to 1500 grit and given a danish oil finish.  This is my first time working with mesquite and I have to say this is some really beautiful wood!  This particular knife (3V Nimrod) was commissioned by a longtime friend as a surprise gift for her husband.  It's always fun working on special projects like that.

I edge all three, and they're done.  Check out the "Knives" page to see many more photos and specs.

I've also started working on a custom-ordered short sword in 1/4" 1075.  This is going to be a very interesting project . . .

Using the bandsaw to get it rough profiled.

This one is about 24" overall.  And since I cut it out of a 48" bar of 1075, I had enough steel for another short sword.  This is what I came up with for the second.  Take note of the guard.  That is going to be a 360 degree circular guard!


I've also received my quench oil.

And fired up the Evenheat for the first time.  Good things to come.




August 29, 2013

Continued work on the 1075 short swords.

Laying out my drill pattern.  

Holes drilled and chamfered.  1/4" for the scales and 3/16" for the guards.

A bit of draw filing to remove the mill scale and eliminate surface imperfections.

Then hand sanded to 400 grit.

And this one is ready for bevels.

Then the second, kopis-style short sword is cleaned up.

Time to grind bevels.  First I coat the edge with Dykem, then scribe my center line.

I use an old belt to break the ninety.

A bit more time in front of the grinder and this one is ready for heat treat.

Then repeat with the second sword.  Ninety is broken.

Ready for heat treat.


Now it's time to start working on the God's Guardian knives, which is the collaboration project I'm doing with Alphahunter Tactical.  I decide to fabricate the scales first.  I'll be using dyed maple and black paper micarta.

Laying out the scales, bolsters, and black G10 that will be used for the liners/dividers.

The dyed maple scales were much smaller than I like for my usual fabrication method.  The result is I had to get pretty creative with the clamps.  Fortunately I have back-up material in the event that these don't set-up properly.

But it appears everything bonded well.  Here they are after flattening.

Now to work on the blades!  But before any grinding could be done I first had to correct some warpage.  Here's a shot of one of them shimmed and clamped before going into the oven for a tempering cycle.

It took several straightening cycles and a bit of finessing with a mallet, but I was able to get both straight.    The first grinding operation was to taper the tangs.

And since I was in tang-tapering mode I tapered the tang of the O1 Jaybok that I will be finishing soon for a relative.

After cleaning up the flats it was time to grind bevels . . .


And repeat with the guard version:

And I'll leave you with one last shot that was taken after a bit of hand sanding:

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